Illinois Enacts Law Banning Racial Discrimination Based on Hairstyle or Hair Texture

On July 1, 2022, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 3616, also known as the CROWN Act. The CROWN (“Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair”) Act (Public Act 102-1102) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to expand the definition of “race” for the purposes of combatting unlawful discrimination in Illinois.

The Hazards of Remote Employee Layoffs: Wage and Hour Issues, Severance Agreements, and Unemployment Claims

Remote work has exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with some employers hiring employees to work remotely anywhere in the United States. With the recent economic downturn, layoffs are beginning to occur, and for the first time a significant number of remote employees may be included in layoffs. Layoffs of remote employees present unique legal hazards for employers.

Updates to Illinois’s Bereavement Leave and Employee Sick Leave Laws

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently signed into law two bills addressing employee leave. The Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA) provides eligible employees with unpaid time off to grieve the death of a family member covered by the act, and it provides employees with time off due to certain pregnancy- or adoption-related events.

Illinois Governor Signs Bills Expanding Contractors’ Liability for Unpaid Wages of Subcontractors’ Workers

On June 10, 2022, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 5412 and its trailer bill, House Bill 4600, into law. Both bills amend the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (WPCA) to make certain primary contractors liable for any debt owed by a subcontractor—at any tier— relating to the wage claimant’s performance of labor for contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2022.

City of Chicago Expands Protections for Victims of Sexual Harassment

On July 1, 2022, amendments to Chicago’s Human Rights Ordinance will go into effect. In April 2022, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Commission on Human Relations amended the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, adding additional protections for those subjected to sexual harassment. The amendments also modified definitions of “sexual harassment” and “sexual orientation,” added new written policy and training requirements for all employers in the city, and increased penalties for violations of the ordinance.

Illinois Issues Proposed Regulations in Connection With Equal Pay Registration Certificate Requirements

The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has, at long last, issued proposed rules implementing its equal pay registration certificate requirements. As a reminder, Illinois is setting deadlines for covered employers to apply for certification on a rolling basis. The deadline for the first round of employers to file for certification is just days away.

Illinois Equal Pay Act Requirements: Implementation Rules Still Pending as Rolling Registration Deadlines Approach

We had been holding off on publishing an update on the Illinois Equal Pay Act requirements in hopes that the State of Illinois would publish its proposed rules implementing the law. Those rules have not yet come. Accordingly, we are publishing this interim update. When the state announces its rules, we will issue further information.

Employee’s Poor Performance Trumps FMLA Claim

On March 9, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an employer-friendly decision in Anderson v. Nations Lending Corporation. Despite some facially bad facts—including that the employee was discharged only four days after returning from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and subject to a supervisor’s comments about her being “sick a lot”—the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer.

No Grand Bargain: Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Exclusive Remedy Preemption in Privacy Act Class Actions

On February 3, 2022, in McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLC, the Illinois Supreme Court held the exclusive remedy provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (“Compensation Act”) do not preempt employee statutory damages claims under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (“Privacy Act”).

Illinois’s Lodging Services Human Trafficking Law Leaves Unanswered Questions for Restaurants and Truck Stops

On January 1, 2022, amendments to Illinois’s Lodging Services Human Trafficking Recognition Training Act (820 ILCS 95/) took effect, ostensibly adding restaurants and truck stops to the act’s purview. Under the amended act, “a lodging establishment, restaurant, or truck stop shall provide its employees with training in the recognition of human trafficking and protocols for reporting observed human trafficking to the appropriate authority.”

Illinois Adopts New Public Employer Rules on Federal OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS

On January 7, 2022, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) filed peremptory rules adopting the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). IDOL will require all state and local public employers in Illinois to comply with ETS sections (d)-(l).

Cook County, Illinois, Issues Proof-of-COVID-19-Vaccination Requirements for Restaurants, Gyms, and Indoor Entertainment Venues

On December 23, 2021, Cook County, Illinois, issued Public Health Order No. 2021-11, joining the City of Chicago in requiring certain indoor establishments (including restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and entertainment venues) to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons five years of age and older, effective January 3, 2022.

Chicago Issues Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Restaurants, Gyms, and Indoor Concerts

On December 21, 2021, the City of Chicago issued Public Health Order 2021-2, which requires  certain indoor establishments (including restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues) to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons five years of age and older, effective January 3, 2022. Chicago joins New York City, Los Angeles, and certain Bay Area counties in implementing a proof of COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This news comes as cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge in Chicago and sweep the United States at-large.

Minimum Wage Increases in 2022: A Chart of Upcoming Changes and Interactive Map

In 2022, while the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees, several states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The chart below lists the state (and certain major locality) minimum wage rate increases for 2022—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees.

Governor Pritzker Signs Illinois Noncompete Legislation Into Law

On August 13, 2021, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 672, an amendment to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. While the law codifies substantive Illinois common law on restrictive covenants, it also sets forth new and important limitations and requirements regarding the use of noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements.

Illinois Legislature Passes Comprehensive Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Bill Anticipated to Be Signed by Governor Pritzker

The Illinois General Assembly recently approved House of Representatives Amendment 1 to Senate Bill (SB) 672, which would significantly reform noncompete and nonsolicitation law in Illinois. The bill will now go to Governor JB Pritzker, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Illinois Enacts Stronger Anti-Discrimination and Equal Pay Laws Focusing on Criminal Convictions and Demographic Reporting

In  2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 1480, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and the Illinois Business Corporation Act. On March 23, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law.

Illinois Renews Effort to Enact Expansive Restrictive Covenant Legislation

In 2016, Illinois enacted the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (IFWA). In doing so, it became one of the first states to pass legislation in response to the Obama administration’s Call to Action, which asked states to amend their restrictive covenant laws to, among other things, ban covenants not to compete for workers under a certain wage threshold.

Seventh Circuit Decision May Portend Increase in Equal Pay Act Claims for Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin Employers

On January 5, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a decision in Kellogg v. Ball State University that expanded the scope of potential evidence plaintiffs may rely on to support their Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims. The decision serves as a warning to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin employers to consider reviewing employee compensation to ensure compliance with pay equity requirements.

Time to Vote: Employee and Employer Voting Leave Rights and Obligations for the 2020 Elections

Elections in the United States are scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Not only will the office of president of the United States be contested, but all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. At the state level, elections will be held for the governorships of 11 U.S. states and 2 U.S. territories.

Illinois Department of Human Rights Publishes FAQs on Workplace Transparency Act Reporting Mandate

Our September 10, 2019, article on the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (IWTA) focused on various provisions of the expansive legislation signed into law by Governor J. B. Pritzker on August 9, 2019. Though most provisions of the IWTA took effect on January 1, 2020, some were only recently activated. Among the most significant are new reporting requirements for Illinois employers.